Proofreading Service - Pain in the English
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Member Since

September 2, 2009

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Latest Comments

Like a red herring, but unintentional.

  • February 11, 2010, 7:37pm

Since you're looking for an idiom like "wild goose chase," I'd like to advance this suggestion: "wild goose chase."
Also, the Wikipedia version of the origin of red herring is that it's simply bright red and strong smelling which distracts from other dishes, not necessarily intentionally. However, even Wikipedia defines it as being intentional.

Loose = Lose?

  • November 29, 2009, 11:51pm

That's odd, considering that "I did not want to loose my dog" is exactly as correct as "I did not want to lose my dog; the only question is which meaning you wanted. Would MS Word highlight "lose" if it was used, too?

all _____ sudden

  • November 21, 2009, 6:03pm

I am a little surprised that it has never occurred to me to question the phrase "all of a sudden" before. What if it was only part of a sudden? I think I'd like an event to happen at half of a sudden.
In my opinion, if you insist on using the phrase, then "all of the sudden" and "all of a sudden" are equally correct. However, "all the sudden" or "all a sudden" just sound wrong. For those who are insistent about the correct usage, according to the rant I found while checking it out, "all of a sudden" is the correct term, and it's not supposed to make sense if you analyze it.

As for "reveal," there are some small circumstances where it is used as a noun, as porsche pointed out, but it's pretty much never, in normal usage, a substitute for revelation. Sarah Palin is not going to have a reveal for us, she's going to have a revelation for us.

I know it's a bit late to respond but...
too funny wrote: "Well, are you being ironic there with your misuse of the apostrophe in 'his I’s'. It's plural, not possessive."
I really, really hate it when people who are wrong "correct" people who are not. For example, when pluralizing a letter, using an apostrophe is the correct format. Just to rub salt in the wound, you also should put periods within quotation marks, never outside of them. Finally, I know this particular rule is obscure, but when you ask a question, you place a question mark at the end of the sentence.

Well, to be fair, I'd never heard of "malapropism" before. I should also allow that Wikipedia, which was my source, isn't necessarily accurate. I also usually look for alternative sources to see if they match up with Wikipedia. I somehow missed doing that this time.
So, according to Wikipedia, the words must sound similar with no concern over whether it's intended. Ian's example does sound similar, but that doesn't mean that all of he and his friend's replacements do. He didn't state that they all do.
Having corrected my previous failure to examine other sources, it seems that it's common that they sound similar, not required. It also does not seem to be required that it be intentional, especially considering the source of the word: "Mrs. Malaprop."

In short, my bad.

However, in light of a more in-depth search, I have to disagree on the arbitrary replacement. I would consider the above example of "I'm having a 'lamppost,'" rather than a "coronary," to be a malapropism as well.

The only problem with using "malapropism" is that they must sound similar. If all of Ian and his friend's words sound similar to the original, then the puzzle is solved. If, however, the word replacement is arbitrary, then that won't do at all.

Ian, I don't think there's a word for that, but I would call it a "misnym."

hanged vs. hung

  • October 30, 2009, 1:02am

Personally, I think he should be hung.

troops vs soldiers

  • October 29, 2009, 4:46pm

Bah, correction/clarification:
I agree with whomever else said it; “troop” means a group of soldiers, and “troops” means groups of soldiers, for now.

troops vs soldiers

  • October 29, 2009, 1:35am

Well, JC, you've apparently been well and truly brainwashed. Even bought into the rivalry with the Navy tactic they use to increase solidarity.
Anyway, I agree with whoever else has said that, for now, "troop" means a group of soldiers, and "troops" means groups of soldiers. However, if common usage dictates that a "troop" means a single soldier, then the purists will just have to whine about the degradation of the language as it gets added into the dictionaries.

Past tense of “text”

  • October 17, 2009, 2:24am

No more relevant than "chat" which isn't relevant because it is not preceded by a consonant sound, like, say, "x."